WORCESTER - With the return of some students to Worcester schools beginning next month, but the remainder of students still learning remotely, the issue of snow days will land on the desk of the superintendent.

On Monday, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education [DESE] Commissioner Jeffrey Riley released an update on snow days, saying for the 2020-2021 school year, the state says the decision can be made at the local level on whether it's permissible to have students continue learning remotely from home on days with inclement weather or to call a snow day and making up the day later in the year.

Students in Worcester left schools in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Roughly 2,000 students will return to school on November 15, while the current plan is for the remaining majority of students will go back to school one day a week beginning in mid-January for the start of the third quarter.

Commissioner Riley says each district can require students to participate in remote learning so long as regulatory requirements are met provided that students have opportunities to regularly interact with teachers, such as through feedback, office hours, and other regularly scheduled individual student interactions.

The requirements are: 

  1. procedures for all students to participate in remote learning, including a system for tracking attendance and participation;
  2. remote academic work shall be aligned to state standards;
  3. a policy for issuing grades for students' remote academic work; and
  4. teachers and administrators shall regularly communicate with students and their parents and guardians, including providing interpretation and translation services to limited English proficient parents and guardians.


Per the Commissioner's Weekly update: "The Commissioner has determined that for this school year only (2020-2021), if there are days when schools must close because of inclement weather or other emergency,

— MASC-SchoolCommittee (@MASCSchoolComm) October 19, 2020

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